Stacey Abrams will appear in a Super Bowl ad campaigning for the expansion of voting rights.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 31, 2019
Figured I’d get this out of the way early, so that beloved curmudgeon Raven has the chance to
ding me for hatin see it. Still don’t know from football, but I am — to quote the tag — riveted by the sociological significance of it all.
Will Leitch, in NYMag, “Was the NFL’s Success This Season Just a ‘Dead Cat Bounce’?”:
… After a few of the most tumultuous years the league has ever had, and the closest Goodell ever came to losing his job (which in retrospect probably wasn’t very close at all), 2018 was the calmest, happiest season the NFL has had in nearly a decade, at least. Television ratings, after a heavily debated downturn in 2017 that even led to Tom freaking Brady admitting he was paying less attention to the league than he used to, were back up this year. This has been the quietest CTE year since the league’s concussion crisis first broke through into the public consciousness, and, for the first time, the NFL’s sometimes laughably transparent defenses that the game is somehow “safer” now are being taken by many at face value…
Combine that with some truly compelling on-field product this year — thanks largely to innovations from the college game, offenses are running a more spread-out style, leading to higher scoring and more viscerally entertaining games — and it has been a dream season for the NFL… It’s even an ideal Super Bowl matchup, with the unquestionably fun Rams, led by an innovative head coach who’s eight years younger than Tom Brady, against those hated Patriots, a team we have such a national antipathy for that they might be the one thing everyone in this country can all agree on. Goodell, for the first time in years, can stroll up to that podium with a little swagger rather than the usual dodging of tomatoes. Fans angry at the refs? That’s the sort of “problem” Goodell will happily hold court on. It sure beats having Trump in his face all year, or facing existential threats to his game.
The question is whether this is a corner turned for Goodell and the NFL, or a dead-cat bounce — a confluence of happy circumstances that are unlikely to be repeated. The ratings, while up, still haven’t returned to the levels they were at before the initial 2016 slide, and ad revenue is in fact down for the league, largely because of those recent dips. Having Brady and the Patriots as everyone’s firing range, the most popular and hated team right at the center of everything, has to end sometime, and there are no obvious replacements in the wings…
Here in the pulsing
liver heart of Patriots Nation, I can assure you that the NFL is not going away just yet. Although sometimes the sports fans don’t seem to be entirely invested in what the NFL is supposedly selling…
— WBZ | CBS Boston News (@wbz) February 1, 2019
“… The wagering menu is twelve pages long.. “